London has become a city of action — with protests, riots and strikes, and it is still one of the best places in the world to live in or visit.
The infamous London Riots occurred while I was visiting my sister and other family in Europe, and as I watched in silence, I thought about how the Department of State ranks the UK as one of the safest places in the world. Then I thought about the letter they sent me stating that I was not allowed to be involved with, caught up in, or take pictures of protests, etc. in any foreign country because I received a grant from the Department of State and I needed to represent my school and country in the best possible light, and rightly so.
Don’t get me wrong; I am always up for a little action and adventure, after all I do like to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. But this particular visit to London was about attending one of the best-ranked schools in the world, and I am not easily deterred.
I was relieved to find that the riots had subsided by my arrival, but the destruction was visible. However, there were other protests, strikes and court cases that I would need to attempt to avoid. Luckily for me, I received emails from the Department of State warning me of events to stay away from. The problem — most occurred along the path from school to the library or right at the entrance to the underground a block from my dorm.
One day, on my way to the library, at the Royal Courts of Justice, Julian Assange (wikileaks) was arraigned, oh yes, that was a spectacle. Then there was the day that London had a union workers strike that I stumbled across on my way to get coffee (next to the underground). I explained my situation to the nice policemen and asked if they thought it would be okay near King’s. They smiled, said it would be worse and told me to ask a policeman on the other side of the Thames to escort me to the library. Okay then.
One of the landmarks that I really wanted to visit during my stay was St. Paul’s Cathedral, but since the Occupy London protestors pitched their tents in the courtyard and never left, the closest I came was the view from a bus.
The last time I was in London, the atmosphere was different. This time, it felt more similar to New York or San Francisco with regard to the protesting. It was only slightly a hassle, mostly because I am that girl who would want to photograph the events, and I always felt safe.
Alas, there are no photos in this blog, as a promise is a promise…